Last Friday, December 15, the Círculo Ecuestre closed the conference cycle of the fourth edition of the By Invitation Modern and Contemporary Art fair with the presence of Iris Brouwer, general director of Moco Museum of Barcelona.  

After the presentation and welcome by Enrique Lacalle, president of the institution and promoter and curator of the art fair, the specialist in modern, contemporary and street art had a conversation with Sergio Vila-Sanjuán, responsible for the Cultura|s supplement of La Vanguardia, who was in charge of moderating the event.

Sergio Vila-Sanjuán began the dialogue with the director of the Moco Museum in Barcelona by applauding the great advertising and marketing strategy carried out by the museum in the city, which has managed to carve out a niche in the cultural panorama, attracting large numbers of local and tourist audiences. . The moderator explained to the audience that much of the success of the museum located on Montcada Street is due to the extensive career in restoration and tourism of the art expert from the Netherlands, with more than 20 years of residence in the Catalan capital. .

Iris Brouwer began her participation in By Invitation by explaining how the phenomenon in modern and contemporary art came from Amsterdam, where the first Moco museum is located, to the Catalan capital: “The Moco Museum in Barcelona opened in the middle of the pandemic and during the context of the Hermitage. Despite this, and the fact that it is a 100% private museum, we have had a great reception, contributing a new concept to Barcelona's cultural offering."

The director of the museum in the Catalan capital introduced Kim and Lionel Logchies, the owners of the museum, who, as she explained, have “a 25-year history in the art world and who started with a gallery, which had to be replaced by the current museum in Amsterdam in 2016, due to the large capacity that its first establishment had.” 

As Brouwer argued in her explanation, “Barcelona is a very special city for the owners, so opening a museum here was a quite logical choice for them.” Due to the difficulty of finding a space similar to the one in Amsterdam in the Catalan capital, they were on the verge of giving up, as the director explained, but “Patrick Kluivert, a soccer player and friend of the owners, told them that he knew of a building in a large area. cultural center of Barcelona, and next to the Picasso museum, the Cervelló Palace, a building from the 16th century. XVI, which met the prototype of the ancient building that they were looking for to introduce something very different inside, such as modern art.”

Currently, the Moco Museum in Barcelona is an innovative space that has two floors full of impressive works by great artists such as Andy Warhol, Murigami or Kusama. In addition, it accommodates more emerging and controversial artists such as Banksy or from more specific locations, such as the work of Yago Hortal, a Barcelona artist. But without a doubt, what has differentiated itself to a large extent is because it has a large part of immersive and digital art. Despite the decline of NFTs, according to Brouwer, “for the museum, the commercial aspect is not part of its philosophy, so we have to show digital art, since we consider it an indispensable part of art.” “10% of the exhibitions we have are digital art, partly because digital art has no limitations, is more flexible and Instagrammable, and is part of our philosophy of innovation.” “We inspire the younger generation to be more interested in art in general,” she added.

Asked by the moderator why the Moco Museum does not opt for more disruptive and critical art, Iris Brouwer assured that, according to the owners' philosophy, “art has to be positive, inspiring and open minds. Moco seeks good feeling more than bad feeling.”

Given the great advertising and marketing strategy used by the Moco Museum, the general director of the museum in Barcelona assured that, from the management, “the same strategy has been followed as in Amsterdam, giving value to the tourist public by attracting them from the airport and the tourist buses, also from advertising actions on the beach of Barcelona.” Likewise, she confirmed that Moco also relies on internet advertising. All of this has influenced the “30% growth in purchases compared to last year,” according to the director.

Regarding the future of the Moco Museum in Barcelona, its general director confirmed to the Ecuestre public that “the Moco Museum intends to stay in Barcelona for at least 20 years”, a rental period that it has contracted. Brouwer also announced that “there is the intention to open three or four museums in Europe in the next 20 years,” starting with “the next opening in London, in June 2024, specifically on Oxford Street.” “It will be a larger museum than the one in Barcelona, but it will be carried out with the learning we have had here.” The general director also explained that, “the Moco collection, which has 100 works, 60% of which is owned, will be expanded with the London museum.” 

“This year the owners have bought between 8 and 10 works,” Brouwer explained during the discussion. According to the art expert, “the way owners acquire works is different from that of regular collectors: when they see an artist who is not yet well known, but they believe that he can contribute a lot to the museum, they do not hesitate to buy from him.” She also stressed that "the Logchies couple is attentive to Spanish art and wants to make themselves known more in Madrid, Valencia or Seville, which will promote a greater relationship with Spanish artists."

Brouwer assured that, “despite not receiving a single euro from Barcelona's public budget,” the Moco Museum maintains a great relationship with other cultural enclaves in the city of Barcelona, such as Casa Batlló or MACBA, a fact that shows its intention for “continuing to get involved and integrate into the city.”

Regarding the controversy surrounding the auction of Dalí's Femme en Flammes series, in which one of his sculptures is on display at the Moco Museum in Barcelona, the general director denied the possibility of losing the work. According to Brouwer, “the work that is going to be auctioned is not ours, so what we have will continue to be in the museum.”

The talk concluded with various questions from the public, to which the general director of the Moco museum in Barcelona responded that "the reputation of 'not a serious museum' with which the Moco started in the Catalan capital is changing." “We have an age range of between 16 and 35 years old and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 and we have an average of between 2,500 and 4,000 visitors daily in high season,” given this, he predicted a great future for the enclave of modern and contemporary art in Barcelona.